German law criminalizes both public and private sector corruption and bribery.

There is no specific stand-alone law covering corruption and bribery (such as the Bribery Act or the FCPA).  Instead, the GCC lists various forms of corruption and bribery as criminal offenses.

Under German law, criminal offenses can only be committed by individuals.  However, criminal offenses committed by individuals on behalf of or within the scope of their work for a corporation may also lead to liability of the corporation.  If the crime was committed by a director or an officer, or the management has failed to install adequate compliance mechanisms, corporations (and members of the top management) may be sentenced to pay administrative fines or to forfeit all economic proceeds.

The crimes of corruption and bribery are prosecuted by regular public prosecutors.  Tax authorities and the Federal Cartel Office may also be involved in the investigation and prosecution of bribery and corruption, depending on the subject matter.  There is no separate government entity investigating corruption and bribery.

More topics in this series